Mercedes-Benz Alabama Fuel Cell ForkLifts in Operation

15 Oct 2012

Mercedes-Benz sign

The 72 fuel cell forklift trucks at the Mercedes-Benz US International, Inc. facility in Tuscaloosa, Alabama are now in daily operation. The forklifts are equipped with Plug Power GenDrive® fuel cell power units and are used for moving Mercedes vehicle parts for assembly.

The forklifts are being refuelled using Air Products’ hydrogen refuelling infrastructure at the site, which was installed within a period of six weeks. The infrastructure includes an outdoor liquid hydrogen storage and compression system, along with piping to multiple indoor fuelling dispensers. Air Products is now providing safe, daily hydrogen refuelling to over 1,000 items of material handling equipment in the USA.

The GenDrive systems can be quickly refuelled in just minutes, completely eliminating the need to change, store, charge and maintain multiple lead acid batteries for each forklift.

There are many advantages to using hydrogen-powered forklifts and material handling equipment. Hydrogen-powered equipment only needs refuelling once or twice daily, depending on use, and does not require change-out downtime while traditional battery-powered equipment is taken out of operation for battery replacement or recharging approximately every four to six hours.

Additionally, hydrogen-powered equipment provides consistent power strength during use and does not experience decreased performance or wear down as battery units do when nearing change-out or recharge time. Additionally, unlike battery-powered forklifts, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are not adversely impacted by temperature when operating in coolers, freezers or arid warehouse conditions. Further, hydrogen-powered equipment is more environmentally friendly and does not involve lead-acid battery storage or disposal issues.

Source: taken from the Air Products press release

Photo: Supermac 1961

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